New England Soccer Today

Just Desserts

It was the hot topic in the Revs locker room shortly after New England lost 1-0 to Houston Sunday night: the 86th minute Hunter Freeman goal that may or may not have fallen in line with the laws of the game.

Whether it Steve Nicol, Kevin Alston, or Matt Reis questioning the legitimacy of Freeman’s late-match happenstance heroics, it was hard to avoid the assertion that the Revolution were robbed. Robbed, of a valuable road point, they’ll tell you.

Here’s the funny thing: they weren’t robbed at all.

If anything, referee Alex Prus’ decision to allow the goal evened the scales after Houston was deprived of the decider a little over half an hour prior to Freeman’s fortuitous goal.

Rewind the tape to the 57th minute. With another wave of Dynamo white crashing onto the Revolution’s shores, the hosts huddled around the area for a Brad Davis corner kick, keen to find the opening goal that had eluded them all night.

The corner found the head of Andre Hainault, before he sent it over to Cam Weaver, who wildly flailed at it with a weak side volley. But, at the last second, Bobby Boswell redirected it back on target with a nifty back heel for the sure-fire goal before Zack Schilawski sent it up the flank. Opening goal denied.

But wait just a minute. Upon further review, it appeared that the ball had crossed the line before Schilawski’s black and neon green boot bounced it out of the goalmouth.

Even as the ball failed to escape Houston’s attacking third, a host of Houston players immediately sought out the linesman Craig Lowry to plead their case. The ball had crossed the line, they shouted. They jumped and threw their hands up in disbelief. It should be 1-0, Houston. They were certain of it. But, Lowry refused to budge, and thus the score remained knotted at no goals even though Boswell’s ball crossed the line.

Despite the absence of a goal-line view (or – forgive me – goal-line technology) the pair of TV replays available showed that the goal that wasn’t should have counted. So, while the Revs may have a legitimate case that that Freeman’s goal was, in fact, an imposter, they can’t deny that they were saved by Lowry’s less than perfect non-call about a half an hour earlier.

The Revs may not have gotten the right call in the 86th minute. And they have reason to be upset about it. But, they certainly can’t complain that it prevented them from claiming a point. After all, had Prus and Lowry been perfect Sunday night, New England still would have lost 1-0 anyway.

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